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There are too many examples to possible count, but the Susan G. Komen foundation must take a special prize for accepting money from oil giant Baker Hughes and painting fracking drill bits pink in the name of fighting cancer.

2014: The Year of the Hypocrites

Paul Buchheit

There were countless candidates, from individuals to corporations to government officials, all of whom combine the capitalist sense of me-first entitlement with a disdain for the needs of others. 

Individuals: The Public is Blocking My Freedom To Take from the Public 

AIG's Hank Greenberg, who saved about $300 million when his high-risk insurance company was bailed out by our tax money, sued the federal government because he felt cheated by the bailout, even though without the bailout his stock would have dropped to zero. 

Next is Cliven Bundy, who refused to pay grazing fees for the use of our public land, then turned around and blamed government for not maintaining the fences on the land when one of his cattle strayed onto the highway and caused an accident. 

Finally we have Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who criticized fracking regulations for "holding back the American economic recovery," and then protested when a fracking water tower was to be built near his home.

Corporations: Sure We Don't Pay Our Taxes, But We Want Tax Relief Anyway 

Tax avoidance is reaching new levels of hypocrisy. Caterpillar, which complained that government failure to spend on infrastructure impedes its business, is recognized as a leading avoider of the federal taxes that could pay for infrastructure.

Pfizer had 40% of its 2013 sales in the U.S., but claimed all of its profits overseas. 

Medtronic is one of the biggest names in the so-called inversions that allow companies to desert the country that provided decades of publicly funded research in technology and medicine. 

As a further insult to the American taxpayer, much of the untaxed corporate foreign income is actually held in U.S. banks and stocks and other assets. Microsoft, for example, at one point held 93 percent of its offshore profits in U.S. assets.

Charter Schools: We're Public Schools. No, We're Not Public Schools 

In her quest for public space for her Success Academy charter schools, Eva Moskowitz argued: "We want educational justice. We want access to educational excellence and opportunity." 

But when the State of New York wanted to audit the school's finances, Success Academy objected on the grounds that the State lacked the authority to do so, even though the state constitution authorizes audits of all public schools, including charters. 

It's easy to understand the charter school's reluctance to open its books. The Wall Street Journal reported: "Lease documents show the city is paying almost $18,000 in rent for every student at the Success Academy that opened last month in Washington Heights, in the former Mother Cabrini High School...The rental fees come on top of $13,777 for every student that taxpayers provide to charters, which are publicly funded and independently operated." 

Eva Moskowitz makes $72 per student as CEO of the private Success Academy in New York City, while Carmen Farina makes 19 cents per student as Chancellor of New York City Public Schools.

Politicians: Of Course We're Guided by Public Opinion -- We Always Do the Opposite 

Despite the fact that Medicaid has slashed medical expenses among the poor, and despite the fact that Americans are strongly in favor of Medicaid expansion, and despite the fact that opting out of Medicaid leaves 5.7 million Americanswithout vital health insurance coverage... 

...Despite all that, 24 states opted out of Medicaid this year. 

A comprehensive political study found that "economic elites...have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens...have little or no independent influence." 

In other words, Congress passes laws that are desired by the rich, and skips on laws that are desired by the middle class.

Laughable If Not Sad: Suing Climate Change, and Beautifying Pollution 

In response to flooding claims, Farmers Insurance filed suit on behalf of its customers against Chicago-area communities for not recognizing the threat of global warming and fortifying local sewers. 

Worse yet, with a note of irony, any success by Farmers to collect on the lawsuit (which was later dropped) would have meant that the insurance company's own customers would be paying damages through their tax money. 

And finally, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the leading proponent of breast cancer awareness and thus presumably health conscious, accepted $100,000 from oil giant Baker Hughes, which will paint their fracking drill bits pink in honor of the foundation's pink-ribbon logo. Hypocrisy on both sides. 

And the year isn't over yet.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Paul Buchheit

Paul Buchheit

Paul Buchheit is an advocate for social and economic justice, and the author of numerous papers on economic inequality and cognitive science. He was recently named one of 300 Living Peace and Justice Leaders and Models. He is the author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (2008) and "Disposable Americans: Extreme Capitalism and the Case for a Guaranteed Income" (2017). Contact email: paul (at) youdeservefacts.org.

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EU Joins Rights Group in Condemning Israel's 'Day of Destruction' of Palestinian Homes

"Demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace."

Brett Wilkins ·


GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·

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